Last January an appeals court in Den Bosch heard a couple from Landgraaf, Limburg who claims that couples of which only one partner works still have a right to the full labour tax credit for both partners.
Currently only people who work, either as an employee or as an entrepreneur, enjoy this arbeidskorting (employment credit). The maximum credit you can receive this year is 3,223 euro per person.
According to law professor Jos Teunissen, who represented the couple in court, this is discriminatory and a violation of human rights (the article doesn’t say which human rights are violated specifically — one assumes he is talking about Aticle 12 of the ECHR which guarantees the right of partners to found a family the way they see fit).
In an article for Reformatorisch Dagblad, Teunissen argues that families in which one partner works can pay as much as 5 times as much income tax as families in which both partners work.
Teunissen finds support from former junior minister for Finance Martin van Rooijen who thinks the labour tax credit is discriminatory towards pensioners. In a opinion piece for Trouw in 2015, Van Rooijen argues that discriminating against pensioners is discrimination on the basis of age, which is also plumb illegal.
The labour tax credit was introduced in 2001, when it helped to replace a generic credit. According to Teunissen in a recent article in Trouw, its goal is to stimulate labour force participation of women. It is probably not a huge surprise then that it is mostly opposed by religious parties.
Tags: discrimination, labour, law, part-time work, pensioners, pensions, tax credits
Celebrity laywer Oscar Hammerstein must have been out of the spotlight for too long. Volkskrant reports that even though the foundation Vrienden van de Gay Krant (Friends of de Gay Krant, a gay paper) claims not to have money to spend on legal counsel, they have managed to get Hammerstein (400 euro per hour) to seize two of Krol’s houses for them.
The foundation is being besieged by the Dutch Ministry of Education, which wants to get subsidies back that were earmarked for an online meeting place for teenage gays, but which Krol allegedly used to fund his other enterprises during his stint as foundation chairman. In turn the foundation felt Krol should pay their debt as it was he who got them into this mess.
One of the two houses is Krol’s villa in Eindhoven which he wants to sell for 860,000 euro, which includes a bar, a sauna, a hair salon and an obscene amount of marble. Financial gossip mag Quote has photos. The ministry’s bill is apparently only for 206,833 euro.
Krol’s party 50PLUS, who run on a platform of milking the young (read: poor) to give to the elderly (read: not so poor), have accused Volkskrant and AD of ‘damaging’ Krol. Considering that the man who allegedly robbed his employees of their pension funds has not been convicted, nor even prosecuted, they may have a point. On the other hand, the return of Krol in parliament to replace a sick colleague has led to an increase of projected votes of 50% in the polls (read: 1 seat) according to Maurice de Hond.
Tags: 50PLUS, Dutch celebrities, Henk Krol, money, pensioners, pensions, villas
A pensioner named Gijs Koekenbier (69) has become the butt of jokes after NRC Handelsblad published the story of his financial ‘woes’.
Mr Koekenbier has had to cut back from 4430 euro a month to 4260 euro (after taxes!), which started a litany of complaints. “We used to visit the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam five times a year, but now we have to limit this to twice a year. We have had to cancel the NS Voordeelurenkaart [Dutch rail discount card—ed.]. We’ve also decided to drink less wine. Two glasses a night instead of half a bottle is nice too.”
People who are not as well off as Mr Koekenbier reacted furiously. They saw his attitude as exemplary of the ills caused by neo-liberalism, the babyboomers (Retecool) and by the party of the elderly, 50PLUS (Volkskrant).
50PLUS is a party that tries to improve the position of the elderly, run by Henk Krol, former publisher of Gay Krant, and Jan Nagel. The Dutch elderly are relatively affluent, with an average household net worth of 245,000 euro. This is largely due to the fact that when the 50+ crowd bought their houses, they got the type of mortgage that one pays off, while young people do not repay their mortgage loans and are on the whole in the hole.
Meanwhile, there is such a thing as poor pensioners and they are being hounded by the government for benefit fraud. The number of pensioners that fraudulently claim singles’ benefits instead of couples’ benefits has almost doubled in the past five years, or so Sociale Verzekeringsbank claims. NRC quotes the Ouderenombudsman as saying, “People who see each other regularly do not know whether that counts as being a couple or not. We feel fines should not be given as long as the rules are unclear.” Fines for benefit fraud used to be 10% of the amount received in error, but have been upped this year to the full amount. In other words, one has to pay back the balance twice!
The minimum wage in the Netherlands is currently 1469 euro per month after taxes. A state pension for a couple is 1414 euro (707 euro per partner).
(Photo by Derek Gavey, some rights reserved)
Tags: 50PLUS, AOW, Henk Krol, money, pensioners, pensions
Illustration: a Morris Minor (1953) I saw in the Amsterdamse Bos last spring.
Daily Algemeen Dagblad reports (Dutch) that the number of old-timers in the Netherlands has doubled in seven years, with cars going from 121,000 in 2000 to 204,000 in 2007. The amount of classic motorcycles has risen even more, almost tripling from 32,000 to 94,000. Old-timers are defined as cars that are more than 25 years old.
A number of experts interviewed came up with different reasons to explain this rise. One of them suggested that it may have to do with the increased quality of cars and motorcycles; they last longer. Another thought it might have to do with taxes; owners of old-timers don’t have to pay road tax. A third guessed that the aging population may have to do with it; old people with money buying cars to be seen with.
Link to statistics. Via Telegravin (Dutch).
Tags: driving, oldtimers, pensioners, statistics, taxes